Engagement Rings

The Pear-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring Buyer’s Guide

Pros/cons: Pear-shaped diamonds are experiencing a boost in popularity, and they hide flaws well, but when badly cut they can take on a dark void that looks like a bow tie.

Tip 1: Pear-shaped diamond rings can be worn with the tip facing up or down, which can dramatically affect the look — so ideally these would be tried on before purchase.

Tip 2: The pear shape amplifies the color of the stone so you might need a better color grade if you want a diamond that looks closer to true white.

Diamonds may be the most enduring of gems, but they’re not immune to the shifting tides of trends. Right now, pear-shaped diamonds are the style that’s primed for rediscovery. They’re classified as one of the “fancy” shapes — the big, extended family that includes any diamond that isn’t round. And their name spells out their appearance pretty accurately. The stones have a broad, rounded base on one end and a pointed tip at the other. Think of them as a hybrid that combines the look of a round diamond and a marquise. The asymmetrical shape is also referred to as a teardrop. (The happy kind, of course.)

The History of the Pear-Shaped Diamond

Pear-shaped diamonds are hardly new. Flemish diamond polisher Lodewyk van Berquem pioneered the look in 1458. But engagement rings with pear-shaped diamonds have seen a recent uptick in popularity and pop cultural relevance. Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner revealed her engagement to Joe Jonas with an Instagram post of her pear-shaped sparkler (see photo below) and hip hop superstar Cardi B wears a similar style. So did Ariana Grande when she was (ever so briefly) engaged to comedian Pete Davidson.

Photo of Sophie Turner’s engagement ring courtesy of @SophieT / Instagram.

They are diamonds associated with high mid-century glamour. Possibly the most famous pear-shaped engagement ring was the platinum-set, nine-carat jewel that Frank Sinatra gave Mia Farrow in 1966. Richard Burton also bought a 69.42-carat stone for jewelry-loving legend Elizabeth Taylor in 1969. Known at the Taylor-Burton diamond, the actress wore it on a necklace and as a ring.

Pear-Shaped Diamond Clarity, Color, and Cut

There are lots of virtues to pear-shaped diamonds beyond their elegant throwback style. From a practical standpoint, they are excellent at hiding inclusions, especially at the pointed end. That means even stones without top-notch clarity can still look impressive when cut into a pear shape. Stones with clarity of SI1 (or better, if you’re so inclined) generally look eye clean in a pear-shaped diamond. 

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Conversely, it’s a good idea to upgrade when considering color. Pear-shaped diamonds intensify any apparent color in a stone, so if you want a diamond that reads as white, look for one with a color grade of H or better, particularly if the stone will be set in a white metal like platinum. To achieve the same color outcome with a pear-shaped diamond as you would with a round, you’ll have to go up one color grade. Or you could choose a fancy color stone, like a yellow diamond, since a pear shape will amplify its hue.

Engagement_Ring_Hacks_Color (1)

Cut is the most critical factor in assessing pear-shaped diamonds. To a great degree, and more than with other diamond shapes, the perfect pear is in the eye of the beholder. And because there’s no one official standard for the cut, there are plenty of variations on the theme. One dominant rule of thumb is the recommendation to choose a stone with a length-to-width ratio between 1.50:1 and 1.75:1. Stones within that realm embrace the most desirable spectrum of the cut while avoiding proportions that are too short and squat or straight and narrow. 

4_Cs_Decoded_Cut

Pear Shape Symmetry 

No matter the diamond’s proportions, it should always have symmetrical halves, with each side being a mirror image of the other. A few markers for the desired balance are a culet, the (usually) pointed base of a diamond, and table, the large, flat facet at the top of a diamond that are equidistant from the sides of the stone and ensuring that the tip of the diamond lines up with the middle of the rounded end. 

Pear Cuts to Avoid: Bad Bow-Ties

One pitfall that befalls many pear-shaped diamonds is the dreaded bow-tie effect. It’s not a good look, even if you have a soft spot for preppy neckwear. Diamond cutting that reflects insufficient light into the center of a stone results in a dark void that looks like a bow tie. Sometimes it’s barely discernible, but in other cases it seriously hurts a diamond’s appearance. The only way to avoid a diamond with the effect is by inspecting it before you buy; diamond certificates don’t provide that information. 

Note the bow-tie effect, the dark area that extends across the width of each stone. Photo: Nicholas DelRe/GIA

Pear Diamond Maintenance: Protect the Tip

Once you have found a pear-shaped stone with all the right angles, do your part to maintain it. The area of the stone most vulnerable to damage is its pointed tip. Protect it with a v-shaped prong or bezel setting.

Should a Pear Diamond Point Up or Down?

There’s no hard and fast rule for how to wear pear-shape diamond rings, though most opt to wear them with the point of the ring facing outward toward the fingertip. Pointing in that direction maximizes the finger lengthening qualities of the shape. An unexpected way to wear a pear is in an east-west position, that is, horizontally. 

If you love the look of pear but don’t want to make one the centerpiece of a ring, they also make excellent accent stones flanking a diamond of a different shape.

Pear-Shaped Diamonds Cost Less, Look Larger

If a pear-shaped diamond is the one for you, there’s good news when it comes to the bottom line. (Everyone has one. There’s no shame in it.) Like many fancy shaped diamonds, pear-shaped diamonds are markedly less expensive than round ones, often by a margin of 15% or more, depending on the size you choose — the bigger the diamond, the greater the margin between a pear-shape diamond and a round of similar carat weight. The value is compounded by the fact that, thanks to its elongated shape, a one-carat pear looks significantly larger than a round brilliant of the same weight. 

Note that while pear-shaped stones with great stats on paper may not appear impressive in person, the opposite it true, too. A diamond that looks less-than-ideal according to the 4Cs could win you over when you examine it closely. Prepare to look at lots of examples of these diamonds to figure out your preferences. If you’re planning to do some shopping online, stick with sites that have imagery showing diamonds from lots of different angles. James Allen and Blue Nile are a good place to start.

Bottom Line

The variety among pear-shaped diamonds is part of their allure. They demand personal attention to find the right match and beautifully reward the consideration. 

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